How to Prevent Kids from Gambling

22 November, 2019
Now more than ever, games that involve gambling are everywhere and children have more access to them. Without proper management, this can turn into a bad habit in the long term.

Over the last few years, gambling activities have increased among children and teenagers. Publicity and online games have made the problem worse. Therefore, parents, teachers, and institutions need to take action to prevent kids from gambling.

Gambling is an addictive disorder with consistent and unadaptive gaming behavior. For gamblers, the game is a priority. They set aside everything else in their lives, can’t stop doing it and are anxious and irritable if they’re forced to do so.

What makes gambling so addictive?

  • Visual and audible skills. Many of the most addictive games have many flashing lights and other sounds that are used as catch.
  • Changing reinforcements. In some games, you don’t get rewards every time you do a certain action. On the contrary, rewards are usually random and changing. This type of reinforcement is more effective when developing behaviors in the player, and makes it harder to correct.
  • A way to avoid reality. Gambling and gaming can be addictive because it gives people an outlet from society. Many people use gaming to feel better emotionally, instead of focusing on better activities.
Gaming and gambling can have negative effects on children's finances as adults.

Keys to prevent gambling in children

Games and bookings are more addictive because the rewards are unpredictable. Due to the Internet, these games are more accessible now to children and teenagers, although it’s against the law for minors to play them.

Likewise, there are videogames with a similar premise. Many of these games offer products to buy and get additional content. Many times, the rewards are randomly selected. Therefore, now it’s harder to distinguish between videogames and games of chance.

This negatively affects minors, because they start getting involved in these addictive dynamics from a young age. It’s been proven that the younger children start to gamble, the higher their chances of becoming addicted to gambling later on.

Gaming can be as addictive as gambling.

How to prevent gambling in minors

Gambling normalization

At all times, there’s a lot of publicity for gambling on public television. Gambling is now seen as a socially accepted hobby. Society has made these ads completely normal, on television and the Internet, and you’ve probably seen more betting houses now.

Don’t expose your children to these messages that glorify gambling as a valid form of entertainment. Unfortunately, however, it’s difficult to prevent these messages from reaching them.

Thus, the family is key. How the family reacts towards gambling, has an impact on children’s ideas and actions. Talk to them about how delicate and dangerous this behavior is, and preach by example. It’s very important to have this talk with them.

Let them know about the risks and mechanisms that gambling addiction will cause them. If you denied them money or access from some of these games, let them know why this is the case. Be argumentative.

Find other entertainment alternatives

Nowadays, gaming and gambling are some of the most entertaining past times for children. Offer them alternatives to this, so they won’t develop abusive or wrong gaming behavior.

Encourage other types of entertainment, like sports, hanging out with their friends outside, or just going out elsewhere. A great way to use their time is to be part of groups where they can practice their new healthy hobbies.

Focus on what your kids are playing.

Availability

The Internet and smartphones have given children access to many gaming options. Teach them how to use these tools, regarding their age. Supervise their online time and, most importantly, the contents they see.

  • Villamarín, S., De Vicente, A., & Berdullas, S. (2019). La adicción al juego en menores: un problema creciente. Infocop(86), 4. Recuperado de http://www.cop.es/infocop/pdf/3173.pdf
  • Brieva, J. (2006). Ludopatía: el otro lado del juego. Revista Índice19(9), 9-11.